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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

FIRST HALF OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY   351

through the impulse received from that of society. The home,
the school, social class, the nation, the church, all play their part
as instruments of education; but the ultimate responsibility is
with the State as " the higher authority in respect to which the
laws and interests of the family and the civic community are
subject and dependent." On the State rests the double obligation
to safeguard the interests of the child by organizing education and
compelling attendance at the school, and to secure its own future
by making the school the training place for the men required to
carry on the civil and political work of the nation. In these
general principles is contained the philosophy of the Prussian
State system in regard to education.

Hegel may be described as a philosopher who happened to
have been a teacher. Education was only one of his many interests.
/.-For Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852), on the contrary, education
was the cons;iTflfngyg§sion of a lifetime. He was, as one might
say, a born teacher. When at the age of twenty-three he gave
his first lesson to a class of thirty or forty boys in the Pestalozzian
Institute at Frankfort, he saw at once that he had discovered his
life-work* c< It seemed as if I had found something I had never
known, but always longed for—as if my life had at last discovered
its native element. I felt as happy as a fish in the water or a bird in
the air/'* But the earlier years had not been wasted. He had
made trial of various occupations : for two years he had been an
apprentice forester, then had begun a course of study at Jena
which he was too poor to complete, and afterwards he had done
some work as an actuary and an architect. From his experience
of life in the forest at the age of sixteen and seventeen came not
only an acquaintance with botany, but a mystical love of nature
which made him eagerly responsive a year or two later to certain
phases of Schelling's philosophy. After teaching for two years
he became dissatisfied with his own equipment for the task and
returned to study. Some two years were spent as tutor of three
boys attending Pestalozzi's school at Yverdon, and then he went
back to the university, first to Gottingen, and afterwards to Berlin,
where he made mineralogy his special study. In 1813, he served
for a year as a volunteer in the German army raised for the over-
throw of Napoleon, because it was hardly possible for him " to
conceive how any young man capable of bearing arms could think
* Autobiography, English translation, p. 58*